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Recap / The Simpsons S16 E21: "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Guest Star"

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When Bart is expelled for an incident at a medieval-themed fair at school (even though this accident was caused by Groundskeeper Willie, who was mad he wasn't chosen to be a cooper), he's sent to a Catholic private school led by an Irish priest (voiced by guest star Liam Neeson) who shows Bart and Homer the fun side of the Catholic religion. Naturally, Ned, Marge, and Reverend Lovejoy (who are Protestant) don't agree.

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Tropes:

  • Adults Are Useless: Just because the school hates Bart doesn’t mean… no, let’s face it, they hate HIM to the point it was easy just to expel him and let Willie get away. The only few exception would have to be Father Sean.
  • Cassandra Truth: Practically nobody believes in Bart's pleas of innocence regarding the prank he was expelled for.
  • Crisis of Faith: The premise of the episode, similar to "Homer the Heretic" (season four episode where Homer creates his own religious beliefs and stays home from church) and "She of Little Faith" (season 13 episode where Lisa converts to Buddhism after the local church allows advertising).
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: A follow inhabitant of Protestant Heaven explains this to Marge.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: One of Homer's confessionals is that he's masturbated eight billion times and has no plans to stop masturbating in the future.
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  • Distant Finale: After Bart convinces the Catholics and Protestants to get along, the episode ends on a fade to 1000 years later, where two armies are fighting over the words of "God's last prophet, Bart Simpson."
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Parodied in the climactic Mexican Standoff when all four get a closeup of pumping their guns.
  • Dramatic Irony: Audience members can't help but feel sorry for Bart when he's getting flak from everyone for something they [the audience] know Willie was responsible for.
  • Driver Faces Passenger: Reverend Lovejoy spends a disturbingly long time looking backwards while driving. Jesus must have taken the wheel.
  • Easily Condemned: Bart is expelled for Willie's prank, even when he says he didn't do it. In fact his family refuses to believe him.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: When Lisa mentions how she decided to convert to Buddhism, Father Sean thinks she's talking about an imaginary friend.
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  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Marge's Imagine Spot has Heaven depicted up in the clouds.
  • Jerkass Ball: In most other episodes, Marge is usually the reasonable and friendly Foil when Homer is being foolish or reckless or Innocently Insensitive. In this episode, however, Marge suddenly has a fear and hatred of Catholics for no apparent reason other than because the plot says so. She doesn't even get a Freudian Excuse explaining why.
    • Flanders and Lovejoy are even more intolerant than usual and help kidnap Bart. And then when they agree to get along with Catholics, Flanders agrees that they need to unite against monogamous gays and stem cells.
  • Jerkass Realization: Bart once again, he calms everyone down when he explains that Catholics and Protestants are both Christians, which got both sides to agree.
  • Karma Houdini: Groundskeeper Willie doesn't get punished for the stunt he pulled and lets Bart take the blame.
  • Mundane Afterlife: Protestant Heaven has cricket and badminton, while Catholic Heaven has a Mexican fiesta, Italian dinner, and Irish dancing.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Despite Bart's innocence, smugly insulting Skinner wasn't very smart on Bart's part, to say the least.
  • Not Me This Time: Bart tries to explain he’s innocent and didn’t do anything wrong despite having a reason to sabotage the fair, which it’s true but seriously it's already explained.
  • Overly Specific Afterlife: Marge has a daydream where Heaven is divided between the Protestants and the Catholics after Bart and Homer convert to the latter.
  • The Scapegoat: Bart is forced to take the blame for the accident, despite the fact it was all Willie's doing.
  • Standing in the Hall: Bart is forced into this while at a private Catholic school.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's never shown how Bart gets back into Springfield Elementary or if he is ever proven innocent of Willie's prank.

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